Soaked to the skin

I found a book of poems in my dentist's lobby this morning. Thimbles of Thought was the name of it, by Lois A. Burr. Here's one that caught my attention:

"First Job"

soaked to the skin,
our paperboy protects
his precious parcels, neglecting

I liked this poem because it connects with what's true about a New Breed of Advertisers:

1. Work energizes them. There's a certain pride involved with a first job that often fades in subsequent jobs. We need that "first job" feeling to excite and energize us and to remember the thrill of being called.

2. Their work produces value. The newspaper isn't a trivial widget to the boy because he knows that it benefits his customers. He may not benefit from it like they do, but that doesn't stop the newspaper from being a meaning-filled, even "precious" item. So he protects it.

3. Work is their act of service. It's no fun to be soaked unless it was intended. So this job, on this day, cost the boy. At the heart of work - done in a Christ-like manner - is service and sacrifice for the sake of others.

Here's to a "First Job" kind of year for all of you!

Picture: WALL-E protecting Eve.


L.L. Barkat January 5, 2009 at 6:05 PM  

And I like the illustration. And I just like the sounds in the poem. :)

David R January 6, 2009 at 10:18 AM  


Wow. What a great little summary of 'The High Calling" of work. And your analysis is spot-on.

Our work has meaning beyond the paycheck. I am continually amazed at how little pride people take in their work these days, perhaps an indication of the spiritual condition of our country.


Sam Van Eman January 6, 2009 at 12:14 PM  

me too, l.l.

david, thanks. i'm not exactly sure what the lack of pride indicates, but you could be right, especially if "spiritual condition" refers to our failure to view work as worship.

you're good at posts like this. what if you either brainstormed a list of possible indicators on your blog, or asked your readers to do it?

i'll start: we take jobs for financial security rather than meaning or a constructive outlet for our passions. the spiritual condition indicator here would be fear that God won't provide.

M.joshua January 7, 2009 at 2:13 PM  

I want to be like that again. I want to look at my job that way...

Sam Van Eman January 7, 2009 at 5:10 PM  

josh, check out this interview with marcus buckingham.

maybe the below-the-radar reference he makes applies to your situation.

thanks to another marcus for letting me know about this guy.

Kevin January 7, 2009 at 6:11 PM  

My first "real" forty hour per week job as a youth was as a dishwasher for a Christian Camp. 3 meals a day, 300-400 people per week, and a banquet or two. I knew if those dishes weren't clean and the silverware wasn't clean, I was toast in the name of Jesus! Ever since that first job, I wash dishes with the most careful of attention and with the right amount of hot water and dish soap. :)

Sam Van Eman January 7, 2009 at 7:39 PM  

thanks for visiting, kevin.

so it was, as my southern aunt says, "the fear'a God" that instilled you with a good work ethic?

Billy Coffey January 8, 2009 at 11:59 AM  

My first job was at 7-11 when I was sixteen. I hated it. The older gentleman I always worked with had been there for fourteen years. I asked him one day if there wasn't anything else he'd rather do. Who wants to work at 7-11?

He lightly smacked me in the head and said, "Doesn't matter what job you have, so long as you treat everything you do as a prayer."

I've never forgotten that.

Ann Voskamp @Holy Experience January 9, 2009 at 4:27 PM  

"Neglecting himself"... like Jesus.
This is powerful, potent stuff.

Thank you, Sam.

I'm here, reading, with you.
All's grace,

Anonymous,  January 11, 2009 at 1:04 PM  

Yes, Colossians 3:23 at the front of all I do.

Thimbles of thought...I like that.

Sam Van Eman January 11, 2009 at 1:40 PM  

great story, billy. i can picture the guy and the slap, and i imagine i'd never forget it either.

ann, thanks for visiting. i'm flattered.

asonflower, someone just quoted that verse to me this morning. our sunday school is composing a leadership team and one of the areas is evangelism. too many of us put evangelism in a box so small that it only contains tracts, doorbells and heathen tribes. we want to help the class to understand evangelism in colossians 3:23 terms, as a result of treating "everything you do as a prayer," even jobs at the 7-11.

Sam Van Eman January 11, 2009 at 1:47 PM  

speaking of billy's story, check out asonflower's wonderful poem, "a chorus of praise."

just found it, and instantly liked it.

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